30 January 2009

Don't just put it under the mattress

This post by Donnie reminded me that having and sticking to a budget is a bit pointless if you're not also saving money not only for retirement but also in an emergency fund. If you watch Suze Orman, you know that, (along with being a bit crazy), she is constantly hounding people to have at least 3-6 months of income saved in an emergency fund, as well as a monthly contribution to a retirement fund. This is something my church has also recommended for years, for which I am very grateful.

Now, I wish that we were at place financially where we had 3-6 months income saved as well as a healthy start in a retirement fund. We do the latter, but sadly, not the former. We do, however, have a smaller emergency fund, which we are slowly growing, stowed away safely in an ING Direct Orange Savings Account.

In harmony with my recent post all about PearBudget, I'd also like to sing the praises of ING Direct Orange Savings accounts. Also discovered through SimpleMom, this is an (ironically) simple way to earn decent interest (it has recently dropped, but is still 2.4%) with no fees, and a direct link to your checking account.

A few other things I love about the ING Direct Orange:
  • You can have multiple accounts within the same account--for example, I have an account set up called limabeanhome (money from my business), an account called emergency fund, an account called christmas (which, as you can imagine is empty at the moment).
  • The accounts are very simple to set up and don't require any minimum balance.
  • All correspondence is done electronically, and they have many security measures in place to protect your information.
  • The money can be easily accessed at any time--at your request, it will be deposited back into your checking account where it originally came from.

They also have a great referral program. If you're interested in setting up an account and plan to have at least $250 dollars as your initial deposit, they will automatically give you an extra $10 to add to that amount. Leave a comment and your email if you're interested in the extra $10 and I'll send you a referral via email. If you're setting up an account with less than $250, just go here and set it up now. You can even start it with $1.00. Seriously.

It is such a relief to have even a small amount in a savings account, especially when you know it's safe and earning some interest.

28 January 2009

She who dies with the most fabric wins

(sorry to anyone who is getting this post on their reader twice--technical difficulties)
If you've visited my Etsy shop lately, you'll see that the bags listed there are starting to gather dust and the shop needs some serious love and updating. I'm considering a clearance sale, to clear out the old and bring in the new, but that requires having some new.

During the all-too-recent months of pregnancy blech, I would often lay in bed, stare at my sewing machines and find myself nauseous and overwhelmed at the thought of ever sewing again. It was a bleak, sad time and I was a teeny bit afraid that the love wouldn't come back. But it did and I am oh-so-glad.
Luckily, my 3-year-old is still the best napper there ever was, and while James is at school in the afternoons, I have 2ish hours of generally uninterupted sewing time. It is precious and I love it. So, one of these days I plan to attack this awesome stack of fabric and drum up some new bags for limabeanhome.
But for now, I am happy for the success of Classichound and the doggie bags, because they are keeping me busy. As is my sister who always has a custom project in the works for the ranch and her awesome bosses.
For these pillows I finally learned how to do invisible zippers. They are so much better-I might not ever use a regular zipper again.

27 January 2009

Budget, Schmudget

In my family of five siblings, I am often ridiculed for being the cheap one. My brother comes in a close second, but his spending habits differ from mine in that he is willing to pay a larger amount of money for a quality item (as long as there are 5 rebates and a craigslist/ebay sale involved). I'll admit, I'm somewhat of a tightwad, although I have often wondered what makes me this way. How do we end up being the spenders or the savers that we are?

In married life, money conflicts are painful and frustrating, but inevitable, and Jeff and I have had our fair share of them over the years. We have tried many systems of budgeting trying to find one that we can both agree on and participate in, and have watched them all go by the wayside, unsuccessful, leaving us back to where we started, searching for the right one (sound familiar to anyone?)

My preference is a zero-based budget--you spend every penny of your monthly income on paper before you even get your paycheck, and then keep careful records throughout the month making sure you don't exceed what has been allotted into the various categories. When the money is all spent, you stop spending, whether the month is over or not. Like many systems, it takes a lot of planning and requires meticulous accounting of what is being spent, and when it is implemented in a marriage, both parties have to equally agree with where the money is going as well as keep track of their own spending throughout the month. We have discovered that the first part is much easier than the second. The keeping track is where we always seem to fail.

Then I discovered PearBudget. I read about it on SimpleMom--I could describe the program, but she does it so brilliantly in this post, that if you're interested, you should link over there to read all about it.

Here's what I love about this program and why I think it is working for us:
  • Unlike some other budgeting programs, PearBudget does not require you to link to your accounts. You enter your transactions as you spend, and keep track of it yourself.
  • The interface is simple and uncluttered and since it does the math for you once the transactions are entered, it is easy and convenient to see how much has been spent in each category.
  • Jeff and I can both access our account from any computer, so transactions can be entered at our convenience.
  • When we log on to enter transactions, we can both see how much has been spent in each category. (This eliminates one person having to be the policeman, telling the other one to stop spending money eating out because we have no more money allocated for dining out)

Luckily, I have a great husband who is not a big spender, is willing to participate in this budgeting program, talk about money more than he wants to, and even watch Suze Orman with me sometimes. So far, PearBudget has worked well for us and I hope it will continue to facilitate harmony in our marriage with regards to how our money is spent.

26 January 2009

Monday Fun Find #17

Mediumcontrol, the creator of this shirt, has been a great customer of limabeanhome, and I am a fan of this item in her shop.

The front of the shirt has a great sketch of the eiffel tower, an "original india ink drawing, pulled from the pages of my sketch book. inspired from the last trip thru europe."

Being that the hubby lived in France as a missionary for two years, we have Paris on our "someday we must visit" list. In fact, it's at the very top. When that will actually happen is a story yet to be told.

Happy Monday!

16 January 2009


Here are 4 of my favorite posts from the past few weeks, straight from blogs I love to read. These four made me want to laugh, cry, make a new year's resolution, and covet a little bit (though not in that order).

Start Your Day By Eating a Frog--Simple Mom
(Oh how I want to knit this hat)--SouleMama
Sleepy Husband Corner-(a friend of mine--she has a way with words)
15 Steps--Nie Nie Dialogues

Soup of the Day: part 4

For now, this is the final post in the soup of the day series. But we have enjoyed some fabulous soups during these past few weeks and I have enjoyed reading your comments about the ones you've tried.

This recipe for Winter Squash Soup was shared by Alisa, and the hubby was oh, so excited to see that it was a version of the soup he had eaten many moons ago when he was a missionary in Paris. A "potage" of sorts (as he called it), I made this in my new Christmas/Birthday present--a pressure cooker (thank you, thank you Mindi) which cooked the squash in 7 minutes. This is a fabulous tool to add to my kitchen and I cannot wait to see what other magic it can do.

I must admit I intended to make the gruyere croutons, but forgot to buy a baguette so we ended up using the gruyere in a grilled cheese sandwich which was delicious dipped in the potage. Even if you think you hate squash, give this soup a try. It is sweet, savory, creamy and surprisingly rich even though it only requires 1/4 cup cream for the whole recipe.

14 January 2009

an addendum. . .

I've been watching my two boys chase each other around the house now for about 30 minues, stopping only to wrestle each other on the floor and now the couch even though I've asked them at least 85 times to stop. I say to myself, boys just come this way? They have extreme cabin fever? They are sending a message to their mother to get off the computer and play with them?

I think boys just come this way. They want, no, they have to run, jump, wrestle, wrestle, and did I mention wrestle? (I've never been much of a fan of wrestling myself)

Oh, what have I gotten myself into? (and since my last post I've also been considering the amount of camping and boy scouting that is in my future. . .oh boy)

09 January 2009

The mother of boys is the mother of men

Praise to the High One for giving me joys
Peculiarly sweet, I'm the mother of boys!
Mud puddles, torn blue jeans, toads, whistles and worms.
The furred and feathered and whatever squirms.

Black knuckles, bats, arrows and thundering noise.
They're all in a day for the mothers of boys.
But, ah, 'tis a dear joy to turn the blue eyes
To the manifold wonder of earth, sea and skies.

And, ah, 'tis a dear joy to watch a small hand seize
The hand of God in the knowledge of these.
Spare me, oh High One, to praise Thee more when
This mother of boys is the mother of men.

--author unknown

Upon hearing the news that we will indeed be adding a third boy to our family, I'll admit I had my tiny moment of disappointment (I thought my boys needed a sister). But once the news is delivered, all one can do is be happy, be thankful, and consider all the good things that will come with having three boys.

So after considering it for the past few days, here are my thoughts:
  • It is now guaranteed that for at least the next five years I will continue to hear the words, "there's more bad guys, I'll get them!," and ,"watch out, the (insert any word --doesn't even have to be a real word)-asaurus is about to eat you!
  • It is also guaranteed that the car noises, shooting noises, diesel truck noises, and the driving of cars up and down the walls and the halls in my house with the volume increasing ten-fold as soon as I get on the phone will not go away anytime soon. (As a girl, I will attest that girls do not come with ability to make such noises with their mouths. I've tried and my boys are not impressed--so now I will have another one who will also not be impressed, but will be born with this natural ability)
  • Now that James is 5 years old and refuses to go into the women's bathroom with me, I've learned that as long as Jeff is around, this will actually be quite a bonus of having three boys. About five years from now I will never have to take any child into the bathroom when traveling or out and about. (I know, this one is really a stretch, but I HATE public bathrooms, so for me, this is good news)
I have had a couple of teary-eyed moments as well. The first came yesterday when I walked into the living room and almost stepped on this:

I know, blame it mostly on hormones, but I was just overwhelmed with how cute it was to imagine Owen lining up all the cars, each one talking to each other. It made me glad that another one is coming along to line up the cars once Owen decides he's too big for them anymore.

Mostly I have been reminded of the blessing it is and will continue to be, having three future holders of the priesthood in my home everyday for the next 18+ years. It is an awesome privilege and we're excited to welcome this little guy into our family.

07 January 2009

Handmade goodness

While visiting family in Utah for Christmas this year, a dear friend gave us this for the baby. We were at her house and when I inquired about her latest knitting project, she went in the next room and brought out this, all wrapped up. She had been working on it ever since she found out we were pregnant. I was speechless.

I asked her again how she learned to knit, and, in her modest, it's-not-a-big-deal way, she said she picked up a booklet once and taught herself. Again, speechless.

My new year's resolution is to learn how to knit. But I don't know if I'm capable of teaching myself.

P.S. The ultrasound says we're having another boy. . .

06 January 2009

Soup Accessory of the Day

Before Christmas, I visited here and made a wonderful discovery. If you want to make homemade soup even more special, you can make your own bread bowls. I'm re-posting the recipe here (with my edits). They are very easy and surprisingly quick for something that requires yeast and rising. (pictured above with yummy Minnesota Wild Rice Soup)


2 Tbsp. yeast
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
5 cups flour

Mix yeast and sugar with with warm water and allow to sit for 5-10 mins until foamy. Add salt and flour and knead until relatively stiff.(I used the dough hook on my Kitchenaid) Form into 6 round balls and place on greased cookie sheets. Allow space so they don't touch each other. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Cut a circle in the top of the roll, pull off top and scoop out bread to make a bowl.

05 January 2009

Monday Fun Find #16

Food and Exercise Diary

This cute diary has been hanging out in my Etsy Favorites for a little while now. I can't recall how I came upon this little gem, but I remember thinking it would make a great Monday Fun Find for the new year.

So here it is--if you're trying to eat better and exercise more in the new year (who isn't?), this might be just the thing you should spend your Christmas cash on.

As the talented greenchairpress explains:

"[It's] 3"x5", just the right size to slip in your purse, with 100 writable pages. Each page is the same -- with spots for writing in the date, what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack, plus notes and 2 lines for exercise."

Happy Monday!